In the quest for promising investment opportunities, faculty and staff at the University of the West Indies, eyeing retirement, recently gathered for a session hosted by Sterling Asset Management, a licensed investment firm which specialises in US dollar investments. The event, held at the Ramson’s Conference Room at UWI Regional Headquarters, aimed to provide essential insights into retirement planning. Dwayne Neil, AVP of Personal Financial Planning at Sterling Asset Management, took the stage to share valuable perspectives on investing and dispel prevalent misconceptions.
“In pre-retirement, seeking funds to maximise investment growth without taking excessive risks is crucial. This way, upon retirement, you’ll have a substantial fund pool available for generating income throughout your retirement years. In pre-retirement, focus on growth; in post-retirement, shift towards deriving income from your investments,” advised Neil, underscoring the importance of strategic financial planning.
Neil challenged the misconception that banks are the safest places for accumulating funds, warning against potential earning limitations due to the low rates offered on traditional savings accounts and the risk of your money losing value due to inflation. He recommended considering repurchase agreements (repos) as an alternative to traditional savings accounts, offering the same liquidity, low risk, and higher returns.
Addressing the misconception that contributing to a pension scheme is enough to support you during retirement, Neil highlighted regulatory limitations impacting local pension fund investments’ performance. He explained, “We know opportunities exist in the foreign exchange space. FSC regulations limit Jamaican pension funds from investing more than 20 per cent of the fund in foreign currencies, exposing 80 per cent to Jamaican dollars, which means you are exposed to devaluation. If we were to look at 1982 and 2019 and you were to factor into devaluation, 80 per cent of your pension savings would have lost value at 12.4 per cent per annum. That’s a lot of loss over a very long time.”
Turning the spotlight on real estate, Neil pointed out challenges associated with over-investing in this asset class, including rising maintenance costs, tenant issues, and the financial impact of vacant properties. He suggested reconsidering real estate as a primary investment avenue during retirement, advocating for a diversified approach.
Challenging the belief that real estate is the ultimate wealth-building asset, Neil introduced
As the evening concluded, attendees left with a renewed sense of financial empowerment and a fresh perspective on wealth accumulation.